Saturday, 20 October 2018

DUNDEE TRIP: No 1 post of 2 - Dundee V&A Museum and Tannadice

John organised an Autumn Break last weekend as the children were off school. We stayed in a village called Tannadice which is north of Dundee about a 30 minute drive in farmland.

We stayed in a holiday let large house called Mill Cottage. Although located near a burn (small river) flowing into the River Esk (pictured) I could not find the actual mill nor any evidence of a millstone.

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 We spend Saturday visiting the new V&A museum in Dundee.  Impressive!

The waterfront.  Mairi with Harriet (5 yrs) and Ellie (3.5 yrs)

Ishie (11.80 yrs) drawing  at a desk at one of the 'hands on' displays in the large open public area.  The museum is about Design so we enjoyed looking at the exhibits and talking to some Design students about what is going on. It needs another trip to spend time in the room exhibits e.g. story of Cunard ships.

And who is this handsome fellow?!  Alastair, nearly 11 years old, was trying on the dress-up clothes at the (excellent) Jute Museum.

On the way home we visited our old neighbour Dot in Perth.  She just had her 88th birthday.  Dot still has lots of flowers (but no gnomes I noticed!).  She and Ishie in her new M&S dress that Mairi bought her posed for a photo on the back doorstep.

Thursday, 11 October 2018


The musical events are starting up again for the winter season.  This chap, Daniel Ciobanu, has to be the crème de la crème.

He was playing a mid-day concert in the city centre in a very fine setting for a small concert - the Merchant House, George Square, Glasgow.

He is from Romania and came to Scotland on a scholarship for one year to study at Stewart's Melville College in Edinburgh.  Then in 2010 he started at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in Glasgow.

That is why, over the last few years, we have seen him in concerts large or small, including competitions. His website

shows how he is booked 'way into the future to play in major concert halls (as well small venues) all over the world! (He also played in Pollock House Sunday night. He had to rush off to catch a plane to Dubai then on to ??? in eastern Asia to stand in at the last minute for a concert pianist.)

I notice he is Artistic Director of the Neamt International Music Fest

which is where is from i.e. Piatra Neamt, Romania  (above)' 

His website shows that next week on October 18th he is scheduled to give a debut performance at Carnegie Hall in New York.

We are so lucky to be able to enjoy him in our part of the world!

* * * * * *   off-at-a-tangent    * * * * * *

On the subject of Glasgow being richer for its citizens' input ....
I always enjoy concerts in this particular building because every time I climb the stairs from the street outside to the second floor I pass this sculpture in the stairwell. 
Kirkman Finlay

 A marble statue by John Gibson (1790–1866) is in the vestibule of the Merchants' House on George Square.

Kirkman Finlay (1773 – 1842) [was a Glasgow Merchant] who made strenuous efforts to capture lucrative Asian markets, successfully challenging the supremacy of the British East India Company in trade with India and the Far East. Under his leadership the business expanded, moving into cotton manufacturing with the purchase of the Ballindalloch Works in 1798, the Catrine Mills in 1801 and the Deanston Mills in 1806.

They became the largest textile concern in Scotland and the first British merchant to trade directly with India (1816).  


His knowledge of banking was considerable. He was an extraordinary director of The Royal Bank of Scotland;  he agitated for the retention of the Scottish one pound note in 1826.   His  financial success shows … the central importance of cotton textiles in Glasgow's domestic economy …. [He was one of many] who helped to make Glasgow.

He and others like him made loadsa money in the heyday of the Industrial Revolution.  These merchants put money aside for the poor and other worthy causes and the room in which the concert is held has many gold painted dark wooden boards noting them and their contributions.  

Iheir website [] states "From the beginning, the Merchants House supported members and their families who had become 'decayed and distressed', both within their hospital and outside it. 

The Merchants House is now a major charitable institution and donations of more than £700,000 are awarded each year to deserving charities and individuals in Glasgow and beyond. 

For over four hundred years after its foundation, it is part of the fabric of Glasgow and the city is richer for it."


Monday, 8 October 2018


Queen Street Station is under construction.  One of His Lordships in George Square is taking it all in.

Parked outside Glasgow Royal Concert Hall were 2 of these trucks completely blocking the pedestrian area including the cross-walk waiting area.


A fox in the garden at the corner of Clarence Drive and Hyndland Road today.  I think it is injured.

Sunday, 7 October 2018


Saturday was lovely all day.  Every time Ellie (3.5 years) and Harriet (5 years) visit they head for the park at the back of our house.  

Ellie has very firm ideas about what she will wear.  In this autumn weather it is a ballerina outfit or a spring party dress.  I said to her when she shouted (she's always shouting) "I want to go the the park!" it was "No sweater; no park".   Without a blink she put it in and turned to me and said "M-m-m-m.... it's nice and cosy!"    She is right; it's a lovely hand-knitted sweater (not mine) I keep in a drawer handy for just occasions!

Harriet and I spend time colouring and practicing her letters.  She now knows  m, n, a, h, t and r.  At the end of a session my head is buzzing with:  "kicking k" and "curly c".   Such fun to see her coming along (as she has very good hand motor co-ordination).

In her school bag is her first reading book, i.e. books that have no words but have stories to be talked about. As we progressed through the story I started to notice the little details in the drawings.  The artist is Roderick Hunt.  He will never know the laughs I got as we turned the pages and talked about what mischief the characters were getting up to!

Here below is an example.... which I am going to be add to the Rogue's Gallery of photos on the kitchen wall.  It makes me laugh every time I look at it!

Mr Hunt, whoever you are, as a tribute to your wonderful artwork I am now been inspired to try making Madeleines (instead of my usual fare of Rice Crispie Cakes and Flapjacks!)

Monday, 1 October 2018


John took this wonderful photo of Ellie last week.  She is a real clothes horse!  She chooses what to wear and what coat to go with it.  The fact that it is autumn outside doesn't mean she is going to pass up wearing her Snow White ball gown or her ballerina outfit!

And that red chair in her other grandparents' apartment is just her colour!

It put me in mind of some other reds that I have had lurking in my computer 'colour' folders:

Wm Morris Strawberry Thief fabric or maybe it is wallpaper.

Wikipedia states that it is  one of his "most popular repeating designs for textiles. It takes as its subject the thrushes that Morris found stealing fruit in his kitchen garden of his countryside home, Kelmscott Manor, in Oxfordshire."

This petite point stitched chair cover is one made for Liz and covers a lovely armchair which sits in a bay window.

Thursday, 27 September 2018


Edinburgh was looking well in the autumn afternoon.

Next to John Lewis's is a clutch of cranes.  Not the sort of thing you see on the Edinburgh skyline. Worth a few photos I thought.

I paid a visit to the Dovecot Studio which was holding an exhibition of Liberty fabrics, i.e. an exhibition of various garments using their fabrics.

This is the studio where weaving frames are erected on which carpets and wall hangings will be made. The building is actually an old swimming pool. The ceiling still has the original iron supports and beams. The pool itself has been turned into a floor as seen above.
A lovely book about the history of a selection of fabrics or wallpapers which includes the hex colours selected from the samples.  Very useful when choosing colours in Photoshop.

Liberty garments.

 A book on their fabrics of the 50s and 60s.

Coffee in the cafe with a bowl of soup after I spent time 'exiting through the gift shop'.  The reason I took the photo on my iPhone was to capture the blue colour of the wall in the cafe.  Lovely!

Friday, 21 September 2018


Back to school and back to 'normal' routine.  Here are recent photos of the grandchildren.

Ishie is now in her first year of secondary school (11.75 years old). Next to her is Ellie, 3.5 years old, front left is Harriet now is Primary 1 (5 years old) and lastly Alastair (10 years old) is in Primary 7, his last year of Primary School.

Ishie and Harriet baking.  I am cultivating their skills and have recently observed a new phenomenon which turns out to be a very, very good incentive ... taking a photo on their mobile phone in order to show their friends.

Alastair likes to eat; he also takes a (rather second=hand!) interest in baking and/or meal preparation.

What do I mean?  Rather than ask to do it (unlike the girls) he gives me the recipe ... which I produce in the fullness of time.  I don't mind but I must remember to get him in the kitchen, with an apron on, doing it himself.

This is his recipe for Flapjacks.  Yes, it is good but I mustn't let this Work Allocation Exercise become a habit!  (And like Uncle Alastair at the same age, he makes himself scarce whenever a tea-towel appears in the post-dinner washing-up.)

Ellie - absolutely full of beans!
Harriet in the driver's seat of a fire engine.

 Everyone with Iain in the cockpit of Seol-na-Mara in July, Rothesay.

Indy (7 years old) on his first day of school (Grade 2).